Unconventional Is the New Conventional?

  • Ilaria Pitti


This chapter looks at the results emerging from the presentation of three case studies and reflects on their implications for the understanding of contemporary youths’ unconventional political practices. The prolonged and gradual process of social peripheralisation experienced by young generations since the last decades appears to have fostered deep evolutions in the relationship between them and the state-based institutions. A shift towards a more “competitive” position in relation to institutions emerges among young people whose unconventional political practices go beyond claim and protest. Prefigurative political projects aimed at creating a new world within the shell of the old are enacted in an attempt to re-appropriate and re-conquer politics. In the light of these results, the chapter discusses whether it still makes sense to talk about “unconventionality” when we look at youth political practices.


Unconventional political participation Youth participation Prefigurative politics Postconventional participation Engaged citizens 


  1. Althusser, Louis. 1970. “Ideology and ideological state apparatuses.” In Lenin and philosophy and other essays. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  2. Arendt, Hannah. 1965. On revolution. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  3. Bang, Henrik. 2005. “Among everyday makers and expert citizens.” In Remaking governance. Peoples, politics and the public sphere, edited by Janet Newman. Policy Press: Bristol.Google Scholar
  4. Barnes, Samuel H., and Max Kaase. eds. 1979. Political action. mass participation in five western democracies. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Barbalet, Jack M. 1998. Emotion, social theory, and social structure: A macrosociological approach. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beck, Ulrich. 1992. Risk society: Towards a new modernity. Theory, Culture & Society. London and Newbury Park: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Beck, Ulrich, Anthony Giddens, and Scott Lash. 1994. Reflexive modernization: Politics, tradition and aesthetics in the modern social order. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bennett, William Lance. 2007. “Changing citizenship in the digital age.” Paper presented at the OECD/INDIRE conference on Millennial Learners, Florence, 5–6 March.Google Scholar
  9. Berger, Peter and Thomas Luckman. 1967. The social construction of reality. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  10. Bosi, Lorenzo, and Lorenzo Zamponi. 2015. “Direct social action and economic crisis: the relationship between forms of action and socio-economic context in Italy.” Partecipazione e conflitto, 8(2):367–391.
  11. Dahl, Robert Alan. 1985. A preface to economic democracy. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dalton, Russell J. 2008. “Citizenship norms and the expansion of political participation.” Political Studies 56 (1):76–98.
  13. Della Porta, Donatella. 2015. Social movements in times of austerity: bringing capitalism back into protest analysis. Cambridge and Malden: Polity.Google Scholar
  14. Fanon, Frantz. 1986. The wretched of the earth. New York: Grove Press.Google Scholar
  15. Furlong, Andy. 2016. Routledge handbook of youth and young adulthood. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Furlong, Andy, Cartmel, Fred and Andy Biggart. 2003. Youth transitions: patterns of vulnerability and processes of social inclusion. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Social Research.Google Scholar
  17. Ginsborg, Paul. 2005. The politics of everyday life: making choices, changing lives. Yale: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Harris Anita, and Johanna Wyn. 2009. “Young people’s politics and the micro–territories of the local.” Australian Journal of Political Science 44(2):327–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hebdige, Dick. 1979–1991. Subculture: the meaning of style. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Hirschman, Albert O. 1970–2004. Exit, voice, and loyalty: responses to decline in firms, organizations, and states. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Honneth, Axel. 1995. The struggle for recognition: the moral grammar of social conflict. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  22. Howie, Luke, and Perri Campbell. 2016. “Guerrilla selfhood: imagining young people’s entrepreneurial futures.” Journal of Youth Studies 19 (7):906–20.
  23. Mannheim, Karl. 1952. “Essays on the sociology of knowledge”. In Mannheim: collected Works, edited by Paul Kecskemeti. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Markell, Patchen. 2003. Bound by recognition. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Marsh, David, Therese O’Toole, and Su Jones. 2007. Young people and politics in the UK: Apathy or alienation? Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Martuccelli, Danilo. 2015. “La partecipazione con riserva: al di qua del tema della critica.” Quaderni Di Teoria Sociale 1:11–34.Google Scholar
  27. Norris, Pippa. 2003. “Young people and political activism: from the politics of loyalties to the politics of choice?” Keynote at the Council of Europe’s Symposium on Young People and Activism, Strasbourg, 27–28 November.Google Scholar
  28. Pickard, Sarah, and Judith Bessant. eds. 2018. Young people re-generating politics in times of crises. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  29. van de Sande, Mathijs. 2013. “The prefigurative politics of Tahrir Square. An alternative perspective on the 2011 revolutions.” Res Publica 19 (3):223–39.
  30. Sciolla, Donatella, and Luca Ricolfi. 1980. Senza Padri né maestri: inchiesta sugli orientamenti politici e culturali degli studenti. Bari: De Donato.Google Scholar
  31. Vromen, Ariadne. 2008. “Building virtual spaces: young people, participation and the internet.” Australian Journal of Political Science 43 (1):79–97.
  32. Vromen, Ariadne, and Philippa Collin. 2010. “Everyday youth participation? contrasting views from Australian policymakers and young people.” Young. Nordic Journal of Youth Research 18 (1):97–112.
  33. Yates, Luke. 2015. “Rethinking prefiguration: Alternatives, micropolitics and goals in social movements.” Social Movement Studies 14 (1):1–21.
  34. Zukin, Cliff, Scott Keeter, Molly Andolina, Krista Jenkins, and Michael Delli Carpini. eds. 2006. A new engagement? Political participation, civic life, and the changing American citizen. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilaria Pitti
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Humanities, Education and Social SciencesÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden

Personalised recommendations